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The lowdown on iPIX

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Anonymous
April 9, 2005 4:51:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

iPIX no longer offers its software that uses a $25 "Key" to produce
each Full 360x360 Image. Although they still support it and sell Keys.
The Keys for their Real Estate Wizard, a lower level product, are only
$20 for 5 keys.

The iPIX Interactive Studio is sold as a one year license that can
produce an unlimited number of images for a year. There is then a
reduced renewel fee.

Even so iPIX is not cheap software. $899 for the basic one year license
with 2 add-on modules available at $499 each. With the Formatter module
the iPIX Interactive Studio can output in Quicktime Cubic Panorama,
Equirectangular Projection, Cubic Strip, Shockwave w3d and of course
their propriatary .ipx format. The Enhancer module has image editing
tools for touching up the images right in the Interactive Studio.
They're pretty powerfull.

But for some one in the business of producing multimedia for the
Internet, that wants to offer Virtual Images for a fee, there's really
no other pratical choice;

Most of the hotel companies only support iPIX; Sheraton, Westin,
Hilton, Doubletree, Wyndham, Radisson and Marriott. If you want to sell
one of these hotels Virtual Images, iPIX is the only one they accept or
the one they prefer.

iPIX is one of the 3 Virtual Image Formats supported by Homestore.com,
who distributes Virtual Tours to Realtor.com, ColdwellBanker.com,
ERA.com, Century21.com, PrudentialRealEstate.com, REMAX.com and
GMACRealEstate.com. Without fast distributuion, a virtual tour of a
home for sale is useless.

Some of the other virtual image software is very good, especially
Quicktime VR. I use PhotoVista for printed panoramas.

But iPIX is really the only choice for the serious Multimedia Producer
that wants to do virtual imaging business with major companies.

If you're only going to make a few Virtual Images for fun or a hobby,
you should go with another company.

Yes I'm an iPIX Virtual Tour photographer. Take a look ate my demo
website at www.VirtualAlbuquerque.com

Douglas Aurand
Albuquerque, NM

More about : lowdown ipix

Anonymous
April 9, 2005 9:17:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Then why does iPIX continue to be the technology of choice for so many
major Real Estate and Corporate Hotel websites?

I've expanded from Real Estate Tours to Hotel Tours and in a year and a
half I did 9 hotels in 4 states; a Hilton, a Sheraton, a Wyndham, two
Radissons, a Marriott and three independent hotels/resorts. Over 60
Images at $150 each

How many tours did you provide to a major hotel or real estate website
in the last year and a half
Anonymous
April 9, 2005 9:21:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bart
iPIX's patents have been repeatedly upheld in US Federal Court.

They own the US patent and they protect it

They haven't lost a single case.

What part of that don't you get?

Doug
Related resources
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 12:02:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

So why does iPIX still hold the patent in the US and not Mr Dersch?

My understanding of the infringement case was that they settled out of
court and that Mr Dersch agreed to not market (sell) his product in the
US. That's why he gives it away on the net.

What you call predatory I call agressive.

Hypothetical Question: A franchisor of 10 Sheraton hotels, all in your
state, likes your work but needs the virtual images in the iPIX format
since StarwoodHotels.com only supports that format. Thats 10 hotels
needing 10 images each at $150 each or $15,000 plus expenses.
Are you going turn down the contract?

I find too many Virtual Tour Photographers are great "artists" and
lousy business people. Their Virtual Tour businesses are little more
than a hobby that generates a little income, because they hold opinions
like yours about something they had no part of.

You probably think Microsoft is the "Evil Empire" too?
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 2:08:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Corry
Welcome to the real world of business; You can ride the wave or be down
by it.

Kind of like Microsoft and Macintosh, isn't? You can go with the big
player or be a small fry

Oh, by the way, they're in Oak Ridge not Knoxville
April 10, 2005 4:08:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

DJAurand <DJAurand@aol.com> wrote:

> iPIX no longer offers its software that uses a $25 "Key" to produce
> each Full 360x360 Image. Although they still support it and sell Keys.
> The Keys for their Real Estate Wizard, a lower level product, are only
> $20 for 5 keys.
>
> The iPIX Interactive Studio is sold as a one year license that can
> produce an unlimited number of images for a year. There is then a
> reduced renewel fee.
>
> Even so iPIX is not cheap software. $899 for the basic one year license
> with 2 add-on modules available at $499 each. With the Formatter module
> the iPIX Interactive Studio can output in Quicktime Cubic Panorama,
> Equirectangular Projection, Cubic Strip, Shockwave w3d and of course
> their propriatary .ipx format. The Enhancer module has image editing
> tools for touching up the images right in the Interactive Studio.
> They're pretty powerfull.
>
> But for some one in the business of producing multimedia for the
> Internet, that wants to offer Virtual Images for a fee, there's really
> no other pratical choice;
>
> Most of the hotel companies only support iPIX; Sheraton, Westin,
> Hilton, Doubletree, Wyndham, Radisson and Marriott. If you want to sell
> one of these hotels Virtual Images, iPIX is the only one they accept or
> the one they prefer.
>
> iPIX is one of the 3 Virtual Image Formats supported by Homestore.com,
> who distributes Virtual Tours to Realtor.com, ColdwellBanker.com,
> ERA.com, Century21.com, PrudentialRealEstate.com, REMAX.com and
> GMACRealEstate.com. Without fast distributuion, a virtual tour of a
> home for sale is useless.
>
> Some of the other virtual image software is very good, especially
> Quicktime VR. I use PhotoVista for printed panoramas.
>
> But iPIX is really the only choice for the serious Multimedia Producer
> that wants to do virtual imaging business with major companies.
>
> If you're only going to make a few Virtual Images for fun or a hobby,
> you should go with another company.
>
> Yes I'm an iPIX Virtual Tour photographer. Take a look ate my demo
> website at www.VirtualAlbuquerque.com
>
> Douglas Aurand
> Albuquerque, NM

This is bollocks - most real VR photographers would not touch iPix with
a barge pole - the quality is simply not there - as well as their
predatory / rip-off the photographer attitide. This subject has been
done to death in many other forums.
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 5:31:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"DJAurand" <DJAurand@aol.com> writes:
> So why does iPIX still hold the patent in the US and not Mr Dersch?

Because Dersch had better things to do that spend a fortune on legal
fees getting the patent invalidated.

> My understanding of the infringement case was that they settled out of
> court and that Mr Dersch agreed to not market (sell) his product in the
> US. That's why he gives it away on the net.

No. He has ALWAYS given it away on the net, including before IPIX
ever heard of him. He gets a good salary as an academic and is not
that interested in being in the software business or fighting legal
battles. He instead accepted a settlement that let him keep giving
away the software as he was doing before. He may have given up the
right to commercialize it, but I don't think he cared that much.

> What you call predatory I call agressive.
> Hypothetical Question: A franchisor of 10 Sheraton hotels, all in your
> state, likes your work but needs the virtual images in the iPIX format
> since StarwoodHotels.com only supports that format. Thats 10 hotels
> needing 10 images each at $150 each or $15,000 plus expenses.
> Are you going turn down the contract?

What does that have to do with anything? It's reality in the business
world that sometimes you have to hold your nose and deal with sleazy
people. That doesn't make them smell any better.

> You probably think Microsoft is the "Evil Empire" too?

If you mean do I think Microsoft engages in predatory and
monopolitistic illegal business practices, it's not a matter of
opinion. It's a fact established in a court of law and upheld
through two different appeals.
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 6:13:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Keith" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:1gus09q.1876vz8pqjsgsN%nospam@nospam.com...
> DJAurand <DJAurand@aol.com> wrote:
SNIP
>> But iPIX is really the only choice for the serious Multimedia
>> Producer that wants to do virtual imaging business with
>> major companies.
SNIP
>
> This is bollocks - most real VR photographers would not touch
> iPix with a barge pole - the quality is simply not there - as well
> as their predatory / rip-off the photographer attitide.

Indeed, see
http://swpat.ffii.org/patente/wirkungen/ipix/index.en.h....

> This subject has been done to death in many other forums.

But it can't be stressed enough, they are bad news for progress in VR
photography.

Bart
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 7:26:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

DJAurand wrote:

> Bart
> iPIX's patents have been repeatedly upheld in US Federal Court.
>
> They own the US patent and they protect it
>
> They haven't lost a single case.
>
> What part of that don't you get?
>
> Doug
>

First, my compliments on your courage of sorts. Defending iPIX can't be
the easiest way to win friends.

Second, the USPTO is bizarre and deranged. These are the same folks that
have granted a patent to someone for inventing a "method for swinging on
a swing." Couple their track record with the US Courts' scattershot
competence and it's not hard to imagine that with a break or two and
some slick lawyering a company such as iPIX can gain a reputation for
"innovation." Even if their main treasure leans on prior art going back
to, hell, GERHARD FREAKING MERCATOR(1512-1594).

Third, resistance is futile. They have rightfully earned a nasty
reputation for harassing people all over the world (COUGH Helmut Dersch
COUGH). But hey, you're riding their wave and I guess that one's gotta
do what one's gotta do to keep from wiping out. I didn't know that
included admitting in public that you are their iBiyatch, though.

Fourth, they are based in KNOXVILLE. They live in the same city as THE
GREAT ORANGE SATAN PHIL FULMER. Need I go on?

Corry
--
It Came From C. L. Smith's Unclaimed Mysteries.
http://www.unclaimedmysteries.net

Of course I went to law school. - Warren Zevon, "Mr. Bad Example"
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 10:54:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

DJAurand wrote:
> Corry
> Welcome to the real world of business; You can ride the wave or be down
> by it.
>
> Kind of like Microsoft and Macintosh, isn't? You can go with the big
> player or be a small fry

This is soooo 1998.

Since you brought up Microsoft and by implication similar business
models, let me ask you:

1) Is your endorsement of iPIX based entirely upon pragamatism - that
is, because your clients demand it?

2) If a viable alternative were available, *and* these clients were open
to your use of it, would you consider it? If yes, under what circumstances?

3) Would you consider an open source-based system under any circumstances?

With these questions I'm trying to understand your apparent enthusiasm
for this company which by its vicious barratry has driven honest,
creative people practically underground. To me, supporting iPIX is
neither good for innovation nor business, at least not in the long term.

> Oh, by the way, they're in Oak Ridge not Knoxville
>

I stand corrected.

Corry
--
It Came From C. L. Smith's Unclaimed Mysteries.
http://www.unclaimedmysteries.net
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 1:46:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Corry
1) My endorsement is mainly based on pragmatism. The other part is I
like the product and I've had a good relationship with their support
department with technical problems and management working on business
developement. The clients I work directly with are usually totally
unaware of the various vitual imaging products. When I'm competing with
other virtual image providers, the fact that they can use the same
images in their local site and their franchise site is an overwhelming
edge. I just present the advantages and disadvantages in an open an
honest presentation and I have yet to loose out.

2) I've looked at many other virtual image technologies. I'm in
business to make money, I've looked at alternatives so I could avoid
buying Keys or an annual license, just buy the software once. But its
much more than that; they came up with the Link method of providing the
virtual tours (Realtor.com didn't want to host and manage thousands of
images from all over the country, so iPIX did, providing a URL link to
the tour for them to use instead, a technique which the other software
providers now imitate. None of the iPIX Images on StarwoodHotels.com
are hosted on the site, they're hosted by iPIX), iPIX built the
business relationships with the real estate and travel industry that
their competition never did (Quicktime VR owned early virtual imaging
but never developed business relationships. Bamboo.com merged with iPIX
combining Bamboo's real estate contracts with iPIX's better technology
and photographer model), they've continued to build relationships with
other multimedia software companies (their software has been able to
produce Quicktime VR images for several years and the new Interactive
Studio can output Shockwave w3d files, they are adding a RealViz
plug-in and are working with iSeeMedia to produce a plug-in for them).
They already have an output that is supported by the PTViewer, its
either an Equirectangular Projection or a Cubic Strip, I don't remember
which. If my clients want a different format than .ipx, I can probably
produce it with the iPIX software now or shortly. As a multimedia
business why would I want to use more limited products?
And they provide multiple methods of using the images no one else does
or did (the Sheraton took 3 months to get the iPIX Images added to
their website. In the meantime they were e-mailing the iPIX eGallery
and eBrochure constantly. They are self-contained .exe files that
contain the images and a player in one e-mailable file)

3) I will look at and consider any alternative. I have been. I have to.
The fortunes of business change too much. iPIX Corp is still not
profitable which worries me a lot.
But iPIX is such a better "total package" of virtual imaging software,
features and business opportunies, I don't see anyone stepping up to
replace them unless they fail fiancially.

My enthusiasm is based on iPIX providing a much, much more complete
tool than its competition. Does Apple even offer the Quicktime VR
Authoring software in a Windows version yet? iPIX has long offered Mac
Versions of their software.

I've found them more creative and innovative than any of their peers,
not just in their software but in the supporting tools and business
relationships they've built that benefit producers like me

I acknowledge, iPIX has been very heavy handed in protecting their
virtual image patents. But they developed much of the market for
virtual imaging through their work with the real estate and travel
industries, the 2 buggest users of virtual imaging.

The demand that is growing for virtual imaging was largely created by
iPIX.

My observation, talking with users of competing software, is the
biggest complaint they have about iPIX is the different financial model
they use. iPIX sold their software cheap (about half the price of
Quicktime VR) and gave away the real estate version, but charged for
Keys to produce and host images. The "geeks" wanted to buy it cheap or
get it free and not have to buy Keys. I have Realtors who have
purchased the virtual image software but are then mad that Realtor.com
won't host the virtual tour FREE??? After all they paid $500 for the
sofware & equipment, they shouldn't have to pay any more, should they?

iPIX adapted and is now an annual liciense. By having a continuing
revenue stream, iPIX has had the money to continue to develop their
software (Interactive Studio is the 3rd version I've seen in 6 years),
provide additional multimedia tools and support tools like Host@iPIX

The biggest selling feature of all iPIX's competition, except Quicktime
VR, is low price. That's about all they have to offer.

Doug Aurand
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 2:20:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"DJAurand" <DJAurand@aol.com> wrote:
> Corry
> Welcome to the real world of business; You can ride the wave or be down
> by it.
>
> Kind of like Microsoft and Macintosh, isn't? You can go with the big
> player or be a small fry

No, not really. Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple several years ago,
and the company actively creates and markets software for the Macintosh
platform. Doesn't sound like what iPix has done.
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 3:07:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bart
Stripped down to the essence, iPIX has successfully defended their
patent.

Is that not correct?

You can argue details and side issues, but they won, its settled, move
on.

Doug
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 4:11:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Cory
This real world scenario came to mind;

Imagine I'm preparing a proposal for a hotel who's Franchise Website
supports iPIX (Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, Radisson,etc) but the
websmaster of their local website won't host iPIX Images (somehow they
didn't fire him over this).

He's a rabid suporter of Mr Dersch and will only host images that use
the java PTViewer.

With the iPIX Interactive Studio I can ouput Equirectangular
Projections or Cubic Strips (I'm nout sure which the PTViewer uses, but
can create both just by clicking a few buttons) for the webmaster to
use with the PTViewer and .ipix files to be provided to the Franchise
Website or Host@iPIX who can provide a URL Link to the virtual tour to
the Franchise Website.

And I probably wouldn't charge any extra for the extra files

I can do the same if the webmaster insists on Quicktime VR or
Macromedia Flash/Shockwave.

ALL FROM THE SAME SOURCE IMAGES!!!!

Why in the world would I want to use somebody elses software that would
drastically limit my output choices??????
Why would I want to incur the cost of the other software and the Mac G3
to run the Quicktime VR Authoring software????? (I checked, there's no
Windows version of the Quicktime VR software)

Doug Aurand
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 6:58:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"DJAurand" <DJAurand@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1113092514.442850.99590@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> Bart
> iPIX's patents have been repeatedly upheld in US Federal Court.

Which says something about both the USPTO and the federal court.

> They own the US patent and they protect it

They hold a patent on something that is different from other
"inventions" (large amounts of prior art). Yet they bully small
inventors out of business with their litigation claims that can drain
the resources and bankrupt an individual.
It doesn't mean they are right, they just have more money so the
others cave in before they do. Thus monopolizing the business, causes
some to be driven in their arms due to lack of alternatives. Their
pricing structure reflects that there is lack of competition.

> They haven't lost a single case.

Money buys justice in some systems. I'm not saying that they buy the
judges, they just hire more lawyers.

> What part of that don't you get?

I think I have a reasonable understanding of what really happens,
having witnessed the struggle of Prof. Helmut Dersch who offered a
free utility based on prior work. They hassled him once and backed
off, then the next(?) year (probably looking to improve their bottom
line) they hassled him again, and Helmut couldn't justify the legal
expense of fighting the same battle again (probably every year), so he
gave up.

I suggest you read some background (see the link I provided which
amongst others leads to
http://www.virtualproperties.com/noipix/patents.html) before
questioning someone elses understanding.

Bart
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 11:03:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"DJAurand" <DJAurand@aol.com> writes:
> Stripped down to the essence, iPIX has successfully defended their
> patent.
>
> Is that not correct?

Of course it's incorrect. The essence is they are scum, no matter what
the court decided. Courts only decide whether something is legal, not
whether it's reprehensible. There are lots of scumbags who do things that
are reprehensible but legal.

> You can argue details and side issues, but they won, its settled, move on.

More nonsense, you said yourself that they weren't profitible. For
them (though maybe not the rest of us), profitibility is the only real
issue, and everything else including court decisions are side issues.
I am glad to hear they are unprofitible and I hope they will be out of
business soon. That is when it will be time to move on.

I don't understand why you are so enthused about them anyway. I
understand you make lots of money shooting real estate pictures using
their software, so it's reasonable to say you use their stuff out of
business necessity. I myself use Microsoft Windows at work, out of a
similar type of business necessity. Microsoft are scum and I use
their stuff because I have to. If I were a real estate photographer,
maybe I'd be saying the same thing about iPix. But you don't find me
going on pro-Microsoft campaigns in newsgroups and you similarly won't
find me on pro-iPix campaigns.
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 1:17:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

DJAurand <DJAurand@aol.com> wrote:

> Then why does iPIX continue to be the technology of choice for so many
> major Real Estate and Corporate Hotel websites?
>
> I've expanded from Real Estate Tours to Hotel Tours and in a year and a
> half I did 9 hotels in 4 states; a Hilton, a Sheraton, a Wyndham, two
> Radissons, a Marriott and three independent hotels/resorts. Over 60 Images
> at $150 each
>
> How many tours did you provide to a major hotel or real estate website in
> the last year and a half

Why is this bragging relevant to rec.photo.digital?
April 11, 2005 2:07:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

DJAurand <DJAurand@aol.com> wrote:

snip

> Why in the world would I want to use somebody elses software that would
> drastically limit my output choices??????

One reason might be because the iPix images are so low resolution, you
cannot zoom into the image to any great degree. A lot of iPix images
I've seen have had very poor joins between the two fisheye imagfes - if
I were the customer I would have asked for my money back, or not paid in
the1st place!

With other systems you can create a very high resolution 'master' image
which can be used to print wide panoramic images on paper or high res
full screen images for interactive use.
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 2:50:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Keith
You're right, some of the images produced are very poor. I've looked
back on some of my old work and am a little embarrassed.

A lot simply depends on the photographer. I think iPIX used to have far
to many people out there using their product. They expanded too fast

As I understand they are in the process of removing some of the members
of their iPIX Deveopers Network who no longer meet new standards.

Doug
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 3:02:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Paul
Sorry, I didn't mean to boast. I was responding to Keith's comment that
follows;

This is bollocks - most real VR photographers would not touch iPix with

a barge pole - the quality is simply not there - as well as their
predatory / rip-off the photographer attitide. This subject has been
done to death in many other forums.

Doug Aurand
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 6:52:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"DJAurand" <DJAurand@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1113156420.961012.191990@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
> Bart
> Stripped down to the essence, iPIX has successfully defended
> their patent.
>
> Is that not correct?

As long as your customers (and you) are willing to pay iPIX out of the
bottom line, good luck.

> You can argue details and side issues, but they won, its settled,
> move on.

I (and maybe some of your competition) have. HDR immersive imaging,
besides other alternatives to iPIX, seems to be becoming the
fashion... (http://www.hdrsoft.com/index.html,
http://webuser.fh-furtwangen.de/~dersch/,
http://www.idruna.com/photogenicshdr.html,
http://www.spheron.de/spheron/public/en/home/home.php,
http://home.vrway.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/VRWay.woa,
http://www.nicophoto.com/panoramas/pano_display.php?inf...,
etc., etc.).

Bart
!